Friday, November 02, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 74: Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust

Album - Diesel and Dust
Artist - Midnight Oil
Key Players - Peter Gifford - bass, backing vocals. Jim Moginie - guitar, keyboards,backing vocals. Martin Rotsey -guitar. Peter Garrett - lead vocals. Rob Hirst - drums, background vocals.
Produced By - Warne Livesey and Midnight Oil

Release Date - Fall of 1987 in the USA.

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Midnight Oil has been a band I have meant to go back to and give cds a spin all over again. Recently a glossy music mag I read had an article where one person mentioned their live show and the person being interviewed pretty much said "Who?". So perhaps that person will read this, and get caught up.

Overview - This was the bands 6th studio album. After touring the Australian outback and witnessing first hand all the Aboriginal hardships the band was moved to write and record this album. This album as well as the follow up "Blue Sky Mining" would catapult the band into international stars. In 1989, Rolling Stone magazine would rank this as the #13 on their list of the 100 best albums of the 1980s.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - With one of the most recognizable intros to a song "Beds Are Burning" opens with horns and drums opening very sharp and quick bursts. A swampy bass line lingers under neath it all. Three members work with Garrett on various portions of the vocals. The harmonies are decent on the chorus. Just about half way in to the track there is a horn break down and even before that you hear the chime of some acoustic guitar. The bass and drum, as "basic" as they are really are driving force on the track. The chorus' are sung with urgency and as the song begins to end there are some great horns. "Put Down That Weapon" has much the same feel musical as Beds. The first verse is delivered a little easier (meaning with less urgency but no less passion). A grossly overlooked song in the Oils catalog is "Dreamworld". Opening with a everyone just hitting down hard. The drums clack off a machine gun precsion while guitars chime over the top. The backing vocalist really compliment Garrett with almost soothing quality. This tune was a barn burner live. The band really shines everywhere on this track. "Arctic World" takes the band way down in both tempo and mood. To this point of the album it really shifts gears, string sections, piano and much calmer vocal delivery. One can appreciate the band challenging themselves and the listener at this point of the record. Opening with a shift between acoustic and electric guitar "Warakurna" slowly builds up. This track is one, that when I was reviewing the cd I actually went back to as being something I must not have paid so much attention to, but its a really strong track. Returning are the good call and response chorus' and strong Midnight Oil feel. Perhaps its Hirsts hammering of the floor drums? This is also the track where the album title comes from. The line "Diesel and dust, is what we breathe". One of the four singles released from this album "The Dead Heart" follows. Acoustic guitar and marching drums come in followed by the "do do do do dooooooooo do do do" Hard not to sing along, but the acoustic guitars push you right along. There is not a ton to say about this tune, you probably know it..but have a listen (via download) and listen to one part you may not have ever been aware of. At about the 3:45 mark listen to how prominent the French Horn and Cello are..brought WAY up in to the mix I always loved that, and it fades out with the chiming bells. An outstanding track..but you knew that. "Whoah"begins with a solo guitar for a few bars and a very phased out drum line brings Garrett up to the first verse. The chorus is sung in a raspy tone and the track never really gets moving but has some interesting musical moments with some studio trickery. A return to the sound listeners might be accustomed to by this point "Bullroarer" rises to the occasion. The drums hit down hard and the guitar washes over the top perfectly. A lot of Garretts vocal verses are almost spoken, but in the chorus he can really shine. An actually "bouncy" sounding "Sell My Soul" comes up. The guitars feed off one another and there is just a bubbly feel to it (dare one say). There is almost a flamenco style guitar solo as well, interesting touch. Closing out on such a high note is perhaps my personal favorite Oil track "Sometimes". The guitars cut sharply over strong downbeats of the drums, but as the chorus rises above it all it becomes a real fist pumping sing along. A terrific closing track.

Where are they now? The band disbanded in December of 2002 mostly so Garrett could work in politics. Peter Gifford left the band at the completion of this record. He started a business called "Wicked Weasel" and they are in the business of making "very small bikinis". I kid you not. See the link section if that is your bag. Matrin Rotsey was with the band until it dissolved in 2002. He continues to work as both a solo artist and in collaborative formats. Rob Hirst, also with the band until the 2002 disbanding, continues to work in a band called "The Ghostwriters" with members of Hoodoo Gurus
and Midnight Oil member Martin Rotsey. He also plays drums in another band Backsliders. Jim Moginie continues to work in the music business and released a solo album in 2006. Peter Garrett has been an Australian Labor Party member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Kingsford Smith, New South Wales, since October 2004. Check his "wiki" entry (he has been BUSY)

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have seen a fair number of shows in my day but honestly the October 9, 1988 Midnight Oil show at the Orpheum Theater in Boston ranks as a top 10 show of all time. It was just one of those "moments". That night I said "if the band ever comes around again I will do whatever it takes to see them" I know of at least two more occasions where I could have gone..but fell back on my own word..damn it.

FDF Overall Take - When you mention Midnight Oil chances are you'd probably get "Oh yeah the band with the really tall bald singer" or "Oh yeah I remember (insert a track from this record). The latter is not bad since there are some great tracks on this record that really defined the band and its sound.

The band has an Official Page.
Peter Giffords non music project (might not be safe for work) here
Rob Hirst Ghostriders on myspace and another project, Backsliders,here
Jim Moginie has a personal page here
Peter Garrett on Wiki
as well as a personal page here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

*****MP3's Removed December 27, 2007 4:13pm ET*****

The Dead Heart

All three songs taken from "Diesel and Dust" which you can buy here here

Bonus download
Blue Sky Mine (Food on the Table Mix) taken from the Forgotten Years cd single.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 4:53 PM, Blogger Ello said...

Yeah, the only thing I could remember was the bald singer also. My system is running real slow and had a hard time listening to the songs, but thanks for this! I didn't know these at all. Not bad.

Hey I got a Band of Horses free itune download from STarbucks and thought of you!


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